Editors’ Notes On Imali, Ami Faku crafts a compelling debut album with her refreshing take on Afro soul. Over eclectic production, the Port Elizabeth native traverses love's different stages through intimate songwriting and moving performances. With help from Blaq Diamond, Sun-El Musician and 37MPH, the vocalist foregrounds her culture while infusing her music with a youthful touch. “(I tried) to embrace where I come from and also celebrate it,” she tells Apple Music. “I wanted to represent African sounds and show that I'm proud to be Xhosa.” She does exactly that, with impactful story arcs highlighted by standouts like “Ebhayi” and “Tshomi Yam”. Here, Ami breaks down each track on her 11-track suite.

“Oh My My”
“‘Oh My My’ is the first track simply because I’ve never done anything like this. It's a very fun track. It's a very jazzy, groovy sound and I've never explored that—so it felt like an achievement to be able to finish a song like this. The song is about a lady who's showing off her newfound love—someone who's perfect in her world and is everything she's ever wanted.”

“I think it's very important for couples to establish a sense of belonging within their relationship, because it's more fun being with someone you're sure about. With “Ungowami”, it's about being with someone you're sure is as committed as you are. For me, I don't get why we should be together if we're not in it to win it.”

“This song speaks about having someone, relying on them and them relying on you back. After a long time of commitment and them showing you they're worth trusting, you've now established this part of the relationship. It's about a love where you're content and only want that one person.”

“Ubuhle Bakho”
“‘Ubuhle Bakho’ is a song I wrote and dedicated to all the good men out there.That was my initial message but as time passed it became broader. It's amazing how the universe has created another meaning for it. People are dedicating the song to their best friends and children, so it's a beautifully written song that's expanded in meaning. It's just embracing someone for being a blessing in your life.”

“Inde Lendlela”
“This song is about feeling like you can't function without someone even though they're not good for you. It's basically about a trauma bond between two lovers. Sometimes depending on someone and feeling like you need them is normal. I'm just trying to make people feel less crazy and understand that we all go through this. Eventually you'll come back to your senses and it will get better. You'll let go of the darkness you and your person share, see the light and be happier when you've left.”

“I wrote about family conflict and how it's always based on finances. People don't seem to care if they get along because they might not need each other financially. ‘Masivume’ just says, ‘Let’s try and solve any conflicts we might have ‘cause even if you're well off, you can never buy true love.’”

“Imali is a very, very emotional song because it speaks the truth. It's very scary to me because sometimes people don't like hearing the truth. I know that some people never get a break and it's so sad. I'm asking people to find something that makes them happy, pursue it and not spend the rest of their lives compromising everything about themselves.
I encourage people to be selfish, seek happiness and create a break for themselves, ‘cause no one else will do it for you. I'm there for them in the sense that I will be honest with them. So ‘Imali’ represents everything about life and about me as Ami Faku—how I want to be honest and have a relationship with my listeners. This song is creating a relationship where we’re very honest and look out for each other.”

“For me, Ebhayi is something I feel everyday and I just can't seem to run away from. I feel welcomed, it feels like warmth and I feel at ease. This is a very special song because I've never written something so relevant to my daily life. I'm very much human and struggle like everyone else—I guess it's just part of life. Nothing is perfect but having a place you call home makes you feel at peace. I appreciate every place I've been and my journey in music, but Ebhayi is home.”

“Ndikhethe Wena”
“A very romantic, submissive song, ‘Ndikhethe Wena’ is me encouraging young people to fully commit. It's about understanding that your person chose you out of everyone in the world. By knowing this, I believe people will appreciate their partners more ‘cause love is more enjoyable when it is pure and real.”

“This is another song about conflict, but this time it addresses involving third parties in your romantic matters. I'm trying to teach people that sometimes you can resolve your issues without telling the whole community what's going on. When other people are involved, it always becomes bigger than it actually is. Like… ‘If you spoke to me first, we'd solve this on our own and wouldn't be here.’”

“Tshomi Yam”
“‘Tshomi Yam’ is a very traditional song. It reminds me of the rural areas in the Eastern Cape. When there are traditional ceremonies, this is the sound you're expecting to experience. It's very important for me to have this sound in my first project, because it shows I embrace my culture and that I'm proud to be Xhosa - and Black. Here I'm just showing off my roots.”


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